Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘choosing happiness’

Happiness is an Inside Job!

If you are unhappy in your life what are you choosing to do about it? The operative word, of course, is “choosing.” Our level of happiness cannot be determined by others or we are in for a long, bumpy ride. As Albert Elllis said no one has the power to cause us to feel happy or unhappy unless we give them the right to do so. We can choose to be happier, more productive in life by internalizing a few simple ideas.

The first and most important belief is that we deserve happiness. Yes, even with all of our supposed imperfections we are still entitled to happiness. It is our personal inalienable right and a goal that we work toward achieving throughout our lives.

Our level of happiness can be affected by others. Which people seem to have the greatest influence on your thinking? Look into their lives – are they truly happy? If so great! If not, the sad truth is that nothing you can ever do will change it. They must decide to make the effort to change their thinking and their life. In the meantime, you can become manic trying to help them, attend to their latest life crisis, even attempt to buy their happiness but to no avail. If they lash out in frustration or attempt to bully us into solving their latest life trauma it says more about their own level of frustration and unhappiness than ours. Only they can choose to change their life.

For our own well being, however, it is important to decided the amount of time we are willing to allow ourselves to be surrounded by negative energy. We tell our children that they need to choose their friends carefully but how many of us as adults do the same? You might be thinking … but many of the people who exhibit unhappiness are in my own extended family? Even with family, the same rules apply. You will receive from them only what you are willing to accept. As a family member you might want to jump in and ‘fix’ something for them. Be careful. It is their territory not yours. Assuming what they need and not waiting to be asked for help can result in resentment. The internal message they receive is that you think they are not capable of handling it on their own. That is a demeaning message. Remember, ‘helping’ is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone views the issue or challenge through their own eyes. It requires a delicate balance of knowing when to assist and when to back off that results in greater happiness for all concerned.

Sometimes we need to limit the time we spend with others (including family) when their energy is just too negative to be around. I am convinced that there are a few people on this earth who simply choose to see life as a fight – deciding who are enemies and who are friends. Sadly, these folks believe that anyone who doesn’t see things the same way as they do are just dead wrong. Luckily, I have encountered only a few of these folks in my life but I do know that they can suck the enthusiasm for life right out of you if you let them.

When we draw a line of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior when dealing with others we give ourselves the right to choose happiness. Regardless of how negative or out of control someone may be the bottom line is that they will only give us as much as we are willing to take. Martyrdom should have ended in the dark ages. Respect is earned not only by what we do but how much we are willing to tolerate.

When you give yourself the gift of happiness you are accepting the fact that you are a human being, a child of the Universe who is worthy of consideration, acceptance and respect. The real test then is to muster up the courage with family or friends to refuse to be taken for granted, demeaned or devalued. Of course, equally important is how you communicate this message. Anger simply negates the message. A spoonful of sugar always makes the medicine go down better.

You were created with everything you need to be happy. Once you begin expecting happiness as the natural order of things it is amazing how quickly the Universe responds. Like a magnet positive energy and self confidence draws more of the same from others.

Have a great few days!

Happiness from the Inside

Last night I was talking to a friend and said, “I am happy from the inside out.” Having lived through many life traumas, most recently the suicide of her husband, she said, “Wow, I never thought about happiness that way.” Those of you who have been following my blogs or who have read my book, Just Behind the Door, understand that I have also experienced many, many losses in my life. I do not talk from theory but from experience.

It may seem strange to talk about happiness on a website dealing with loss but it is something worth considering. Research has found that prosperity, health and physical attractiveness are only MINIMALLY related to one’s overall happiness. True, genetics does play a part in the happiness level of each person but ONLY a part. In fact, researchers have actually written a book on the topic of our “happiness set point.” Their work concludes that beyond circumstance and genetics, each of us has an additional 40% that we control in reference to our happiness index. Just think about that for a moment, 40% control – totally at our discretion – to determine how we will live our life. Amazing, isn’t it? We have the power to determine if we will be happy or sad, kind or offensive, giving or taking. The choice is always up to us.

The loss you may have had in our life will not be made easier by seeing your cup as half-empty for the rest of your life. Please think about how the loved one that you lost would want you to live the rest of your life; in sadness and remorse or ultimate happiness because of what you had the opportunity to experience.

We hear daily about the importance of having an optimistic attitude. Realizing that we CHOSE this life, with these lessons, takes away any possible issue of blame. It simply is what it is because we chose it. Accepting that allows us to forgive ourselves and others for the events of the past. We then can develop a sense of wonder – amazement even – for the people and opportunities in our future.

Make tomorrow a great day and remember, “All is as it should be.”